Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stomach Flu and Dairy Queen

No, this has nothing to do with ice cream.

This past weekend was pretty rough. I was laid out with the stomach flu. Literally. Couldn't get out of bed, and I'm still kind of recovering. It left my hubby with the job of taking care of our energetic boys by himself...which, I guess I should admit, evoked a perverse pleasure. :) I also got quite a bit of reading done, since I couldn't do anything else.

One of the books I read was DAIRY QUEEN by Catherine Murdock. Even though it hurt to do so, this book had me laughing out loud on many occasions.

As with all my reviews, this contains slight spoilers so read with caution.

Fifteen year old D.J. Schwenk is an amazing character. She's the strong, silent type. She does what's needed for her family, without question, and does it well. She makes good choices and bad ones, then tries to amend the bad ones. She's so real that I want to meet her in person!

She starts her story, telling us Brian's reaction to how her father hurt his hip. Her Voice is clear and strong, and I can see her, clear as day, in my mind. Her lips pursing, her tongue tripping, her awkward posture dripping frustration, then giving up and going back to work. And that's just page one.

Her decision to train Brian, who is the quarterback of her high school's number one rival team, is pivotal to the story. This was the only part of the book that gave me pause. Since it was so important, I wanted a little bit more around it. She seemed to agree a bit too easily, then regret her decision later on. It's a bit out of character, because in the rest of the book she's not impulsive unless she's in the throes of an intense emotion. Usually anger. So I'd have liked to see a bit more waffling on her part, then deciding to do it. But maybe that's just me.

Jennifer Hubbard recently had a fantastic post about characters denying intention, which is basically the characters denying truth. DAIRY QUEEN is an excellent example of this. D.J. is so good at knowing and accepting certain aspects of her family, like how no one ever talks. But she can't accept other aspects, like her father's really a good cook or that he's proud of her. Classic denial. She does it again when she doesn't tell Brian about her idea to try out for football. And again when she stops speaking to her best friend, Amber. Yet, to her credit, she eventually comes around and deals with the truth behind each problem. It made me want to stand up and cheer for her...and I probably would have, if I could have gotten out of bed. :)

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes soul-searching type stories, because this is a great one.

6 comments:

Mary Witzl said...

Poor you with stomach flu! But I know what it's like being ill and hearing your husband wrangling with all the petty irritations and difficulties you cope with on a daily basis. It makes me smile to myself too and think, "Welcome to my world, buddy."

Dairy Queen sounds good. I am woefully behind in my YA and MG reading, and actively compiling a list. I especially need to read American books; we've got plenty of British ones that I can read, but hardly any American, and the book stores stock only the very popular American stuff.

I like the idea of an untalkative protagonist -- what a foreign concept for me. And denial is certainly something almost all of us have to come to terms with.

WordWrangler said...

ooooh! nice review. I'm fine with spoilers b/c it helps me make a decision as to whether I want to read a book or see a movie. I'm leaning toward reading this one, now! Nicely done.

BTW - I hope you're feeling lots better. Stomach flu bites!

Jacqui said...

Oh, I am well familiar with the perverse pleasure of that!

I hope you feel all better soon!

Tabitha said...

Mary - I've thought those exact words to my husband. :)

Dairy Queen is a great book. If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it. Not sure if it's available electronically, but there is an audio version. I know it's not the same as the print on the paper, but it might work since your selection sounds limited.

Donna - glad you liked the review! It's a great book. It's probably at both your local library and bookstores.

Jaqui - it's funny how women really identify with that pleasure, isn't it? :) I loved your latest post, btw. And it's awesome that you did the whole thing with your cell phone!

All - I'm feeling better this evening. I managed to get down some chicken soup, and it's settling well. A good sign! Thanks for the well-wishes!

Shari said...

I just skimmed your review cuz I'm hoping to read Dairy Queen soon -- I've heard good things about it!

I hope you're feeling better.

Tabitha said...

You'll love it! I just picked up the sequel, The Off Season. I haven't heard anything about it, but I like D.J. so much that it doesn't matter. :)